Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There Are Much Worse Things

I absolutely love Stephen Colbert.  There I said it.  With his satirical impression of the crazy right-winged religious/political talkies, he manages to always come out somewhere between extremely funny and alarmingly real.  The great thing is when you actually catch glimpses of his intellect and own personal opinions, such as when he took a few jabs at Dr. Bart D. Ehrman - he of the former Christian faith now agnostic fame who refuses to acknowledge the inerrancy of the Scriptures.

On my Christmas playlist, I have most of "Colbert for Christmas" added into the mix, and quite often enjoy listening to the song, "There Are Much Worse Things to Believe In," sung as a duet with Elvis Costello.  At the end of the song, the lyrics are:

"You doubt, but you're sad
I don't, but I'm glad
I guess we're even
At least that's what I believe in
And there are much worse things"

This morning I read an article on my NPR app (yes, I am a hipster nerd) about two billboards that are on either side of the Lincoln Tunnel.  The one on the way into NYC has a picture of the manger scene and directly above it says, "You KNOW it's a MYTH: This Season Celebrate REASON!" - this sponsored by a group called the American Atheists.  At the end of the tunnel, there is another billboard with a manger scene which states, "You Know it's Real: This Season, Celebrate Jesus." - sponsored by the Catholic League.  Enough words have been written about the validity and truth of both boards, the faith/non-faith wars that have erupted between certain leaders, the profit that both have benefited from because of these statements - what I want to discuss is the simple statement, "there are much worse things."

It is no secret that I would fall on the side of Celebrating Jesus billboard, but let me ask the first of many rhetorical questions - What's wrong with a little hope during this CHRISTmas season?  We believe, this fills us with wonder, with joy, with peace and with hope - is there something wrong with this?  The fact that hearing Linus's voice on a Charlie Brown Christmas say, "Lights, please..." lisp and all warms my heart, because I know that the next few minutes will be filled with the story from the Gospel of Luke about the shepherds, the angels and the statement that unto YOU is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  What is wrong with this?  Aren't there, as Mr. Colbert points out, MUCH WORSE THINGS TO BELIEVE IN?

The story of Jesus' birth is an amazing story.  We believe it to be truth, because we believe that the Holy Bible is in fact the very words of God.  Is it so terrible to imagine that God would not only create the very world that we walk around in, the one in which we live and move and have our being, but that He would also come to this earth in the human form?  Is it so terrible and horrifying to believe that God would send His Son to save us?  Is it so horrible to hope in a new heaven and a new earth, because we know in our hearts that this world in which we live in its current state is just not right?

A lot of you can leave the super scholarly arguing about the validity of the Bible for the super scholarly to argue, but I would say that this CHRISTmas you have something very simple and very profound to say as you spread your Christmas Cheer - and that is that there are much worse things to believe in.  Once again, Merry Christmas - may your hearts, minds and souls be filled with all the wonder, amazement, joy, peace and hope of this Season as you Celebrate Jesus!

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